Eagles Club #34
On the corner of 25th St. at E. 25th Ave.
2507 E 25th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55406
My name is Peter Vodenka. In June of 1983, my wife and I, along with our four-year- old daughter and two-year-old son, defected from behind the Iron Curtain of Communist Czechoslovakia. In the middle of a cold, rainy night, we ran for our lives across the
border from Communist Yugoslavia to western Austria while being chased by guards with automatic weapons.
We had spent ten years planning our escape. We had not told our families of our plan, and left them and everything we owned behind. This was our way to protect them from the wrath of our government, which we knew would follow if we were successful. If my wife and I had been captured alive, we would have faced an automatic 10 year sentence in a hard-labor prison camp with the most dangerous criminals. Our children would have been taken and raised in government-run institutions. Since we would have been labeled as political criminals, we would have never seen our children again.
Following our successful escape, we spent three months in a refugee camp in Austria applying for entry into America. The process included interviews with the US Consul, interrogations, and medical examinations. Then, we were notified that the First Lutheran Church in Beach, North Dakota wanted to sponsor our family, and made our dreams come true. We were FREE to enter the United States of America!